A huge amount of attention has been paid to the issue of California’s deepening drought. The New York Times has made it a major and continuing focus of their reporting. California Governor Jerry Brown and the mayors of every major city in California have pushed for water restrictions and other urgent measures (http://ca.gov/drought/). Farmers, crops and livestock are suffering. California’s human inhabitants are on borrowed time, living off the dwindling water storage of our reservoirs and aquifers.
Conservation efforts in Borneo’s embattled rainforest may get a boost with the launch of the newest version of an advanced airplane-based monitoring and assessment system.
Today my team and I launch the third generation Carnegie Airborne Observatory, or CAO-3. It feels a world away from the first CAO launched in 2006, or CAO-2 from eons ago…in 2011. But things are very different this time.
A new report released by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) used Carnegie Airborne Observatory data to expose a chocolate (cacao) producer linked to the deforestation of primary Amazonian rainforest. United Cacao denied any illegal forest clearing, saying that the forests in question were degraded prior to agricultural expansion; however, the map of carbon density generated by the CAO proved otherwise.
CAO is featured in the December 19 2014 issue of Newsweek, with extensive coverage of CAO’s role in advancing international efforts to reduce greenhouse gases from tropical deforestation. The story focuses on CAO’s laser technology, and the team’s approach to creating high-resolution maps of how much carbon (biomass) is locked up in tropical forests of Peru. This country contains more than 70 million hectares, or 175 million acres, of tropical forests in the lowland Amazon as well as the Andes Mountains.